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Recorder letters: Bodgers, tower blocks, Chigwell airfield, fire safety, pedestrians, sex abuse, drug dealing and bowel cancer

PUBLISHED: 09:00 05 August 2017

Ceidog Communications

Bodgers store is closing down. Picture: CEIDOG COMMUNICATIONS

Bodgers closure

Paul Scott, Sandhurst Drive, Ilford, writes:

I have read about the longstanding and well respected Bodgers department store closing down next year, and along with many others who use the shop have always found it to be a useful addition to that part of the town centre in terms of the services provided within the place.

Shops of the independent variety are now under threat from the large companies that do not always have the same level of customer service given by their staff. Therefore, every effort should be made by the firm to ensure that another good quality department store can take the building over to carry on trading in Ilford, due to the loss that would inevitably be felt if the current Bodgers site was left empty or turned in to other usage.

Local people ought to campaign and save Ilford from being without a store like this one, which has understandably succeeded for generations as an iconic retail symbol of the area.

After Grenfell, few people will want to live in high rises

Wendy Taylor, Cowley Road, Ilford, writes:

The council’s plans for tackling the local housing crisis may sound good in a press release but the reality is quite different.

Of the 16,000 to 18,000 homes due to be built in the Local Plan till 2030, about 12,000 – around 80per cent – will be in Ilford South, consisting of mainly high rise, some 20- 30 stories high, leading to wind tunneling, congestion and loss of community.

These are unsuitable for family homes of three beds plus where the need is greatest.

After Grenfell, few will want to live in high rise flats so they will be white elephants.

In addition, only 35pc or 393 annually will aim to be “affordable” which, at 80pc of market rent or sale, means they aren’t genuinely affordable to local people on low wages or benefits trapped in temporary accommodation. However this target is never achieved in reality.

As I write, the council’s planning dept is recommending a 25- storey block opposite Lynton House with no affordable rented flats and only 10pc shared ownership flats as the developer claims he can’t afford to build more!

Many other schemes with few or no affordable flats have also been waved through. The council has firm plans to build only 250 council flats at 80pc of market rent though they say they hope to build more at “‘genuinely affordable” rents in future. At the same time they are creating a housing company building mainly for profit instead of focusing on social rents for local homeless families.

I would urge the council to have a rethink of its plan and use the millions given by the GLA for the housing zone to create more genuinely affordable homes for locals.

Chigwell airfield was not Fairlop

John Barfoot, Ilfracombe Gardens, Chadwell Heath, writes:

The review of The Women who flew for Hitler, on page four in last week’s Ilford Recorder, prompted this letter.

Well done, Clare Mulley’s latest book is on my list as a birthday present that I look forward to.

May I as a local historian, refer to several statements in the excellent review by Angela Singer.

Quote “In 1938 Melitta and another German women pilot, Elly Beinhorn were invited to Redbridge”. They were chosen to be two German representatives at the grand opening of Chigwell aerodrome – also known as Fairlop aerodrome”.

Observation 1 - 1938 Ilford would have been a town in Essex, not Redbridge.

Observation 2 - Chigwell aerodrome was not known as Fairlop. In fact it was just across Forest Road from the Hainault Farm aerodrome site, which has also been misidentified as Fairlop aerodrome by non local historians.

As a matter of interest I have a Luftwaffe reconnaissance photo of Chigwell aerodrome dated May 1939, months before the war began.

Norman Wright, a local lad serving with the Army at the end of the war, souvenired it from files on a German airfield.

I received it after the publication of Over Here and Over There, Ilford airmen and aerodromes during the 1914 -1918 war. Pity, as the Luftwaffe photo covered the 14-18 war Hainault Farm aerodrome site as well.

Fond memories of store’s glass dome

Cllr Barbara White, Goodmayes ward, writes:

Like many I am very sad to learn of the forthcoming closure of Bodgers.

The store will hold varying memories for different people. Was it the place where you bought a wedding present for a special friend, your first grown-up winter coat etc?

My cherished memory will be the wonderful glass dome in the ceiling of the restaurant. A similar glass dome was in the restaurant at the Valentine pub, which sadly is no longer with us.

I don’t know what will happen to the Bodgers site but I know that the former Valentine site will become flats. It goes without saying that Redbridge needs lots of new homes, hopefully affordable, but please can they be built to be aesthetically pleasing.

When I think of the aforementioned glass domes I believe that good quality design is essential to good quality life. Give people something they can treasure and chances are they will value it but a cheaply built building usually encourages graffiti which can then lead to something worse.

Only a couple of years ago, as a former Mayor of Redbridge I remember opening the 125th anniversary of the store. We had no idea then that we would be losing one of Ilford’s greatest assets.

Fire safety failings at my council home

Tony Williams, Henrys Walk, Ilford, writes:

How safe is your home if you rent from Redbridge Council?

Recently I had an officer from the London Fire Brigade visit my home and identify 16 failings in fire safety, the most basic of which is the mains wired smoke detector that does not work. Redbridge have been asked repeatedly over three years to fix this but done nothing.

I advised the housing officer of the problems and allowed him access to view and record all the problems on July 4. I received many assurances of speedy action to sort this out from Cllr Farah Husain, but to date nothing has been done to fix anything.

So, ask the question how safe is your home inside, how much risk are you really at if there is a fire?

Have consideration for pedestrians

Michael Mancha, Hainault, full address supplied, writes:

With regards to the people of Roll Gardens complaining about their unfair parking tickets, do they ever consider that maybe they should have bought smaller cars?

It has for a long time been one of my questions to the council, is it OK for me to block pave my front garden and then buy a car that does not fit and overhangs the pavement? Nobody would answer me.

Utility companies and the council now think it’s OK just to put up a sign “footpath closed” whilst they carry out work, making no provision for walkers, the elderly or mothers with babies and children.

Mobile phone companies have now been given permission to erect 50cm diameter masts and cabinets the size of wardrobes where people walk and, of course, in many areas vehicles are allowed to park with two wheels up the kerb.

No one these days gives a thought for pedestrians, surely they deserve consideration, after all the pavements were constucted for them.

Child sex abuse sentence a joke

An Ilford resident, full name and address supplied, writes:

I was disgusted to read in last week’s Recorder that Mohammed Shabir 49, committed a sexual act on a nine-year-old boy to which he pleaded guilty, was caught on CCTV and said to be a dangerous offender and yet only got 10 months.

That poor child will live with this incident for the rest of his life.

That’s not a sentence that’s a joke. What’s wrong with our judicial system?

Crimes are on the increase so sentences need be made harsher as a deterrent and jails should be treated as a place of punishment, somewhere you would not want to go back to and not a tax payers’ holiday camp.

Drug dealing has hit crisis point

Jennifer Sandrock, Ilford, full address supplied, writes:

The area around Morland Road, Heron Mews and Balfour Road is blighted by drug dealing and use, and all the anti-social behaviour this engenders.

I know that police resources are stretched, but with one pensioner being verbally threatened and another physically assaulted for money, it has reached crisis point. We need help.

I thank Cllr Hatfull for visiting local residents on Saturday, and for his promise to act on our behalf.

I hope that those in authority heed him.

Join walk against bowel cancer

Julia Bradbury, TV presenter and Bowel Cancer UK patron, writes:

Every year, 41,200 people in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Physical activity plays an important part in stacking the odds against a bowel cancer diagnosis and as a keen walker myself, I’m delighted to support Bowel Cancer UK’s Walk Together.

Walk Together is a sponsored five mile walk to bring people together so that they can show their support for those undergoing treatment, remember loved ones we have lost and raise funds to help stop bowel cancer.

Sign up to Walk Together in London on Saturday, September 23, 2017 or to receive a fundraising pack visit

Become a supporter

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